1-As we honor Cervical Cancer Awareness month, what do you want our patients and families to pause and remember?
Cervical cancer is one of the few cancers we can prevent. And with the right investment in prevention today, we could eliminate it for future generations. The human papilloma (HPV) vaccine is our first and most important defense and it is available to children as young as 9 years old. It is a true and safe investment in future health and cancer prevention. Pap tests and HPV tests for cervical cancer screening start at age 21 years is our second defense, which works best when people stay up to date on their screening. When we find abnormalities such as a precancer early, before they can become cancer, we have excellent and low-risk ways to treat the disease. We are here to support patients and families with the many ways we can help them avoid cervical cancer.
2-How do you collaborate with the Cervical Cancer team at Smilow to care for patients?
As a gynecologist specializing in cervical cancer prevention, evaluation of abnormal pap tests, and treatment of cervical precancer, I am fortunate to work closely with the Smilow Cervical Cancer team of physicians, nurses, and other staff to seamlessly transition patients to their care when a cervical cancer is diagnosed. The cervical cancer team ensures each patient is seen quickly and receives the most up-to-date, evidence-based cancer care as well as access to cutting-edge clinical trials.
3-Why is it so important to encourage younger and diverse groups to pursue a career in cancer research?
We need diverse minds to think creatively about the challenges ahead in cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship. Young minds and individuals from diverse backgrounds help bring novel ideas to the table. They best reflect our populations and understand population needs as we must consider at all levels from molecules and cells to clinical trials to health systems and communities how we can ensure that new discoveries and treatments are relevant and accessible for broad groups of people.
4-What advice would you give someone considering a career in cancer research?
Cancer research is about problem-solving to improve the lives of people. Sometimes it can feel intimidating to contribute because of the challenges at hand or because it seems that big ideas or brilliant minds or millions of dollars are needed to get started. But there are also many small challenges that need attention and many different types of skills and minds that we need coming together in cancer research. An important first step can be talking to many different types of researchers in the field to hear about their area of focus and find something that piques your interest and someone who can be your mentor.